Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review: Scotsmen Prefer Blondes

Ramsey, Sara. Scotsmen Prefer Blondes. Spencerhill Associates, 2012. Paperback. +326 pages. $11.99. Release Date: 30 March 2012.

Full Disclosure: I received an ebook copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

I hate reading a bad romance novel, and I'm afraid this qualifies.  Granted, I'm being a little nitpicky here, and granted, I have to admit, once again, that I judge all Regency romances by Stephanie Laurens, which probably isn't fair.  But I didn't find this book, the second in Ramsey's Muses of Mayfair series terribly compelling.

The general plot is that two friends go to Scotland to meet Malcolm, our hero, who intends to marry one of them, but who promptly falls in love with Amelia, her best friend.  The expected hijinks ensue, though in a reversal of most romance novel tropes, Prudence, who hadn't wanted to marry Malcolm in the first place, is quite angry with Amelia for "stealing" her man.

There is one further complication--Malcolm has political tendencies, and Amelia, unbeknownst to most, writes Gothic novels and satires, a la Ann Radcliffe.  This inevitably causes a lot of problems.

So what's wrong with this book?  It does follow the general pattern of a romance novel well enough, after all.  But the main problem is that I never really connected with the characters.  Prudence's anger with Amelia was so unexpected that it threw me somewhat.  Amelia's concern for Prudence, while mentioned often, almost seemed like an afterthought.

Now, generally, I don't discuss the sex scenes of these novels.  This is partly because I know that my dad reads my blog occasionally, and I'd rather not embarrass him too much.  But this is just completely astonishing here, as Ramsey uses certain phrases in the scene that would make the gals at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books facepalm.

First, Ramsey refers to a certain portion of the male anatomy as a "manroot."  While this does bring to mind certain images of tubers, I don't think that vegetation is necessarily the way you want your reader to think about a man.

It really sucked to be him after he had a lucky shot
that took out the U.S.S. Grissom. Both he and his manroot were
disintegrated by Captain Kruge.
The other part that bothered me came only two paragraphs later, when Ramsey notes that our heroine's "body disintegrated."  First, I heard Darth Vader warn Boba Fett not to disintegrate the crew of the Millennium Falcon.  Then I thought about Star Trek III.

I suppose that it's not that Scotsmen Prefer Blondes is a bad book, necessarily.  It's just not very good, and it's certainly not worth the $11.99 price point that Amazon currently has on the paperback.  If you're inclined to read it, go for the Kindle edition, which is selling for $3.99, because I wouldn't pay more than that for this book.

Scotsmen Prefer Blondes: D+

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here.  Part of that has been because I've been spending a fair amount of time over at Tosche Station, where I'm one of the bloggers for the site, bringing an academic point of view to Star Wars and geek culture. 

The other part is that I've been doing nothing but reading brain candy for the last week, and it has been glorious.  Last week was finals, but my students had all their stuff in before finals, so all I had to do was administrative work last week.  I took the rest of the week to read whatever I wanted, and it was wonderful.  I've been working through some of Kresley Cole's novels, as well as Christine Feehan--I do love getting hold of a new series.

But today, I would like to talk about a recent disturbing trend I've noticed in some of the books I've been reading, and to announce the formation of a new organization: RAACK (Readers Against Awesome Car Killing).

Let me explain.

Fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels know that bad things happen to cars in those books.  Generally speaking, they get blown up.  Ranger, one of the love interests, has cars for Stephanie as a line item under entertainment for the guys who work for him, as they all start up a book every time Stephanie gets a new car to bet on how long it will take before something happens to it.

Okay, that's fine and funny.  But if you know something's going to happen, why would you give her a new car?  Or, in what really caused me to wince, in Smokin' Seventeen was, well, a Shelby GT350.

This means this was one of two possible cars.  The first is the new 45th anniversary edition of the Shelby GT350 that was announced in 2010.  This picture of a 2012 Shelby GT--well, it makes me drool, and not just because I've watched far too much Top Gear with my husband.  I mean, just look at it.  It's a thing of beauty.

But the destruction of this car, while sad, could be sadder.  You see, the original Shelby GT350 was only made between 1965 and 1970.  That's right.  It means that Stephanie Plum could have managed to destroy this beauty (the picture here is a 1967).

This hurts my soul.  A lot.  I mean, just look at it!  How do you look at this car and say, "Yup, I'm going to write a book where one of these gets blown up!"

It's enough to make someone weep.

In any case, I thought that surely, I wouldn't come across anymore awesome cars being destroyed as I made my way through my romance novel foray as I caught up with the book series I'd fallen behind on over the school year.  Oh, but I was wrong.

I picked up Kresley Cole's Dark Desires After Dusk.  (Shut up about the name.)  The characters escape a variety of interesting bad guys in a Bugatti Veyron.  Want to know why it's awesome?  Well, I'll let Jeremy Clarkson tell you from the AutoVista section of Forza 4:

For those of you not wanting to listen to a pedantic Brit talk about how awesome this car is, I'll make it brief.  The Veyron is the fastest road legal production car in the world, the super sport topping out at 267 miles per hour, supported by an 8 liter, W16 engine which produces 1200 brake horsepower.  At top speed, it burns through an entire tank of gas in 12 minutes, and can shred a set of tires in about the same amount of time.  The base price is 1.7 million dollars (US).

And they wrecked it.

Apparently, I made a squeaky noise when that happened.

I will give this--Cole spends a good bit of time talking about how awesome the car is.  And then she kills it.  It folds in on itself like it's made from aluminum foil.  A Veyron.

So.  I would like to announce the formation of a new organization known as RAACK: Readers Against Awesome Car Killing.  Ladies and gentlemen, authors of the world, please, we beg you: if you're going to have your character wreck a car, do us a favor and wreck a Gremlin.  Anything else just hurts our feelings.